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India’s Disability sector wins, as government drops proposal to amend disability act

Persons with disabilities protest against Railway

In a breakthrough for persons with disabilities in India, a proposal to amend the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act by the government has been called off following an uproar by disability activists and advocates who claimed that the move will dilute the provisions that safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.

The move was announced on Wednesday exactly a week after the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment sent a letter to seven NGOs proposing amendments to penal provisions.

“Keeping in view the overall sentiments of the majority of stakeholders, the government is now of the considered view that going ahead with the proposed amendment for compounding of offenses may not be in the best interest of persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE), Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) said in a statement on Wednesday.

This came after sustained protests by disability groups against the proposal to amend key the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016.

On 1 July 2020, the MSJE sent a proposal to seven NGOs proposing that penal provisions under Sections 89, 92, and 93 of the Act be amended. The move was slammed as sneaky, anti-disability, and pro-corporate by disability rights groups across India who rallied together under the #SaveTheRPDA hashtag.

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